Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
I'd previously read My Year of Rest and Relaxation, also by Moshfegh, and had quite liked the way she writes, although I was quite disappointed by the ending of the book. I'd already been considering reading another one of her books (she has three I believe?) when I found this sitting on top of a trash can in town and figured whoever had put it there probably wouldn't miss it if I took it. "But, Charlotte, what if it was lost adn somebody came back to look for it?" Well, they were too slow. And what was the chance of them finding it anyway?
The book was both slow and fast all at once, and quite an enjoyable read. I've been trying to expand my horizons a bit, genre-wise, as of late and this is the first book of its sort that I've read. I'm not entirely sure what genre it is but it's quite suspenseful. The off putting nature of the main character (also narrator) was maybe my favorite thing about the book, because reading a book about a really weird woman makes me feel a bit less alone in the world. Not because I am also weird and off putting, but precisely because I can point to her and think to myself that she's much weirder and more off putting than I am.
I would definitely recommend this book, if it's the sort of thing you're looking for. Not an "everybody I know needs to read this right now" book, but if you're in the mood for an occasionally morbid but overall funny story about an off putting young woman. Also, a content warning, this book contains depictions of domestic abuse, alcohol abuse, and molestation (we as the reader don't witness the molestation, but a character tells the story of it). And general violence.
The Sun is a Compass by Caroline Van Hemert
My little sister bought me this book for Christmas either in 2019 or 2020. Or 2021. I think 2020. She told me it was one of her favorites and that I absolutely had to read it and so, of course, I put off reading it for quite a long while. I don't regret putting it off because I think I appreciated it more when I read it than I might have a year ago, but I also don't think it's a book that needed to be put off for so long. I brought it along on my recent trip to Mexico and have been inspired to find some grand adventure for myself.
This book is funny and heartfelt and about so much more than outdoor adventure. I've never read any other outdoor adventure sorts of books, though, so I don't have anything else to compare it to. I'd imagine that any other good outdoor adventure book is also heartfelt and funny and about more than just, say, backpacking. I have realized recently that I quite like memoirs, as they're a fun excuse to be nosy and find out a lot of information about some random person's personal life, and this was a lovely read from the memoir perspective as well. I also particularly enjoyed that she didn't seem to be trying to write what she thought we wanted to read, instead frequently going on tangents about birds (she is a biologist who studies birds) and including all sorts of bits and pieces about her sister's new baby and her father's illness and her own career and life path, all things she was thinking about a lot during her trek.
I think anybody who has even an inkling that they might enjoy this book should read it! I couldn't read more than a chapter or two without crying, in the best possible way, and think that just about anybody would thoroughly enjoy this book.
To Sir Philip, With Love (Bridgerton #5) by Julia Quinn
Of course, I have read all the first four Bridgerton books, but as I am only now starting this page on my site and can't be bothered to remember books I read more than two weeks ago and will not be writing about the first four books. I'm on goodreads and storygraph and you can look there for my reviews, but honestly I don't think I wrote out reviews for most of them. Just like seemingly everybody else in the whole entire world, I watched the first season of Bridgerton when it came out in 2020. I loved it. Of course I loved it. I love historical dramas more than just about any other genre of tv/movie and the addition of the fast-paced, almost soap-opera-like plot that's so typical of Shondaland productions was just the cherry on top for me. One of my coworkers had also watched it and had bought the first book before watching the first season, so the two of us decided to read the rest of them as well (in part in preparation for the second season). She has all the books and has been bringing me the next one in the series whenever I finish one. We've got a good system going. But the system is not what I'm here to tell you about.
I think this may be my favorite book yet in the series. I remember thinking that about Benedict's book as well, and I think again with Colin's. But Eloise is a character I feel we've gotten to see grow and change in a way we haven't really with the other characters. Is that opinion, in part, based on the fact that she's such a well fleshed-out character in the show? Yes, most definitely, and I will not deny it. I can identify much more with Eloise than with the other women we've read about so far. Is it because I'm also stubborn? Maybe. Regardless. I also found Phillip to be perhaps the most appealing male lead we've met so far in the series. I liked their story, though I do have a few qualms with the resolution of their relationship issues. I'm not entirely sure how to talk about those without it being a spoiler. I don't know if anybody will ever see this page on my website and, if you do, I don't know if you'd even be the sort of person who reads romance novels. But if you do, and if you read this, and if you're interested in knowing precisely what I mean, feel free to send me an email. I think I've linked my email address in my homepage.
It feels a bit useless to include a recommendation for this book, as it's the fifth in a series of eight. I will say that Julia Quinn has come a long way since the first book when it comes to writing the... the more... well, the sex scenes. This book might have the best one of all the books so far, although that isn't saying all too much because, in my opinion, sex scenes are not her strong suit to begin with and if you're primarily looking for that you probably ought to read another author.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
I bought this book on a random day from the clearance rack of the book section of target when I was there with a friend buying something else, I don't remember what. We were going to read in the park afterward and I figured it would be a good afternoon in the park read. Was I right? Yes. Kind of.
This book was precisely what I expected it to be. The cover looks like either a Reylo AU or maybe some Harry Potter next gen AU or something like that. I've never read fanfiction for either of those, but this is what I imagine it would be like. Everything about the book was peak millennial cringe, from how it was written (have you ever read a book that includes a written out string of text messages? well now you can!) to the social justice undertones to the way the characters communicate with one another. That being said, it is a very sweet story. It has some genuinely funny moments and includes my favorite trope, the fake dating trope. Could I have written a better book myself? Probably. But I've never written a book (and never given it an honest shot), so the question is not could I but will I. And I will not. I doubt I'll ever write a book and so I must admit that Ali Hazelwood has a leg up on me in that regard. And she has a Ph.D. so I really shouldn't talk too much shit. I never really meant to talk shit in the first place. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book in both a sincere way and a more detached way because I found the book to be very funny just in its general existence. SPOILER (kind of): I don't remember whether or not I liked the sex scene in this book, but I do distinctly remember them making out and talking about whether or not they'd been tested recently and then deciding not to use a condom because they "trust" one another? Seems like a pretty typical sort of thing to include in this sort of book, but doesn't mean I have to like it.
Do I recommend this book? I feel entirely neutral. I think if you're an enjoyer of this sort of romance novel, there's like an eighty percent chance you've already read it, and so I can't really say either way. If reading this book is part of your fate, it was already written in the stars and my review probably hasn't convinced you either way. If you weren't going to read this book, don't bother. You won't like it if you don't like these casual, forgettable, one afternoon romance novels.